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James Hunt’s F5000 to race at Winton Festival of Speed

Submitted by on August 6, 2011

The Formula 5000 racing car that Formula One World Champion James Hunt drove in Australia and the race that he won in it will feature at the Winton Festival of Speed on August 13 and 14.

In 1978, Winton Raceway hosted the 1976 World Champion, the enigmatic and tempestuous James Hunt in his one and only race appearance in Australia.  It was a race he was expected to win and he did not disappoint.

Australia’s premier racing category at that time was Formula 5000, featuring open-wheelers powered by ‘stock-block’ 5 litre V8s.  It was an international class and Australians excelled in its fierce competition around the world.

Driving a locally designed and built Elfin MR8 B-C Formula 5000, Hunt won the Rose City 10,000 against the cream of Australian open-wheel drivers.

History reveals that after winning the event, Hunt partied ‘long and hard’ and the local ladies were very helpful and he made quite an impression!

Now, the race is being re-enacted as the ‘Feature’ event for the second ‘Festival of Speed’ for ‘historic’ and ‘classic’ racing and competition cars.  This time the Rose City 10,000 will be run as two separate 10-lap races with an hour’s break in between on Sunday the 14th of August. Practice will be held on the Saturday.

The driver of Hunt’s car will be Robert Harborow, who is probably the most experienced Formula 5000 driver, currently competing.

At 69 years of age Harborow says he probably will not be “able to do the car justice.” He adds however: “that said, I will still be able to do pretty well as the Elfin was one of the last of those monsters to be made and is in very good nick and is very quick!”

The Festival’s Race Committee Chairman, Ian Ross, said the modern re-creation of the Rose City 10,000 would be even more exciting than the original event, which was run on the old Winton ‘short track’.

“With the Long Track’s two additional long straights and longer distance we expect the F5000 ‘big bangers to reach some awesome speeds which will be further enhanced by their considerable noise and power. With almost 600 horsepower on tap they make a pretty impressive spectacle,” he said.“What makes these cars so special is that not only are they still very, very fast, but they are a rare and valuable addition to Australia’s historic racing.”

As well as the F5000s, the ‘Festival of Speed will feature the ‘Rose City Touring Car Trophy’ a 20 lap mini-endurance race for historic tourers sponsored by Shannons and featuring rolling start and a pit stop.

Of further interest is the inclusion of two very rare Le Mans Porsches a Porsche 962 Group C car and the famous 935 Turbo ‘Moby Dick’ – both on loan from the Porsche museum.The event is organised by the Victorian Historic Racing Register (VHRR) and Winton Raceway.

Admission to the Winton FOS costs $25 Saturday, $30 Sunday or $50 for a weekend pass, all including Paddock entry. Winton is 1.5 hours north of Melbourne, just off the Hume Freeway immediately north of Benalla.

For further information:    Ian Ross -0412 351403

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